KAMPALA, Uganda's judiciary has developed a robust Information Communication Technology (ICT) strategy and expects that its e-justice platform will become operational within the next three years, says Chief Justice Bart Katureebe.

At the same time, it is imperative that the government facilitates the development of a legal aid policy and law, adopts a State-funded legal aid scheme and strengthens community-led initiatives, such as local council courts and a para-legal advisory system which will fill the existing gaps in legal aid service provision, he adds.

Inaugurating the Legal Aid innovations conference here Friday, he, however, regretted that the country's legal system was still struggling to eliminate its case backlog, which he said was one of the greatest systemic barriers against access to justice.

The sector is also still grappling with the fact that most Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) institutions remain largely urban-based and unavailable in 18 per cent of the districts, while 41 per cent of the institutions operate from premises not fit for the purpose," Justice Katureebe added.

The justice system is further faced with many other constraints in service delivery, including lack of modern ICT equipment and reliance on manual processes, low budgetary support to sector institutions, limited legal reference materials, poor remuneration and conditions of service for judicial officers and other staff within the institutions and limited knowledge of the law and human rights by the majority of the population, among others, he lamented.

He said a report by The Hague Institute for Innovation and the Law (HIIL) on Justice Needs 2016 also revealed that 88 per cent of Ugandans experienced difficulty in accessing justice in the past four years, with land and family cases being rated as the top two most critical disputes.

Katureebe noted that only 18 per cent of the Ugandan population receives legal aid services annually, which leaves the majority, especially the poor and most vulnerable, unable to access justice.



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